Update: read part II here
TL;DR: You are faced with a few thousand hectares of rainforest that you know harbours one or more orangutans that you need to track down. Where, how, and why do you start looking?
About a year ago I was doing a lot of drone related work and was presented with the following problem: Would it be possible to use a drone to fly above the Bornean jungle and search for tagged orangutans?
To understand the motivation behind the question we need some background.
In my last post I discussed my little flying object detector project that I’ve been doing for fun. While it worked it relied on communication with an external laptop in order to work (the on board odroid was not powerful enough to run the convnet model).
Hence, what better excuse to buy an NVIDIA Jetson TK1 dev board which should have more than enough juice to run everything on board the drone itself. As added benefit it should come in useful for my litter robot. I then added websocket support to the flask web app and you can now see the detections appear in real time on a map.
It took some fiddling to get the wifi to work with the Jetson and Im still surprised at how quickly the wifi degrades (even though Im using the 5GHz band to avoid collisions with the Tx/Rx). But it did work in the end:
It wasn’t the best place to test it out but I was short on time and it should be good enough to illustrate the concept
Still lots to do and too little time, but we keep chipping away. In particular the awesome folk from ErleBotics were kind enough to send me a Brain2, looking forward to try that out as well.
PS: on a related note, love what the guys from vertical.ai are working on
About a year and a half ago I saw Jetpac’s video of their Spotter app and I remember thinking at the time that it would be so cool to get this flying on a drone. I didn’t have the bandwidth to work on it at the time but ended up poking at it with Markus Aschinger at the ASI and with two A level students (Jawad / Isaac) from the Nuffield Foundation. While they did good work and it got me a step closer, it still hadn’t quite come together. Hence I sat down the past week to do a full rewrite, integrate it with a quad I had lying around and do a little demo. The result can be seen in the video below.
A lot has changed since I last blogged about Taarifa. We have been the recipient of a World Bank Innovation Fund grant and are going through the Geeks Without Bounds Humanitarian Accelerator. Work is really kicking off in earnest now and if you follow the project you will see much happening over the next two months.
In order to improve the platform and grow the community we are running a number hackathons around the world. You are hereby cordially invited to come hack on data, software (front and back end), hardware, and all the bits between in
There’s not much in the way of access to clean water in Tanzania. In the informal settlements, there are a bunch of water points, but many of them are broken. Rather than a continual process of putting in new ones, the local water engineers want to fix the existing ones – but they don’t know where the broken points are. This also prevents large-scale response organizations from accurately deploying resources (and seeing what initiatives are already working).
Update: Unfortunately I purposely withdrew from the DL meetup after a very unprofessional experience with the co-organisers Persontyle. I Instead I joined forces with the London Machine Learning Meetup.
It has been almost half a year since I announced I would take over the London Big-O Algorithms meetup and bring it back to life. 5 Months later I am very happy to say all has gone extremely well, interest and attendance far exceeding my expectations. We have had a great set of meetups so far and all speaker slots are booked until June with talks from Google, The founder of ZeroMQ, Microsoft Bing, and many others. Really nice to see there is strong interest in good, solid, technical content.
However, enough about Big-O. This post is to announce a new meetup group that I have been convinced into setting up. The Deep Learning London meetup. The aim of this group is to bring together people interested in the family of machine learning methods that are concerned with learning distributed, hierarchical (“deep”) representations. Neural Networks being the most popular implementation. Its an area I have been looking at for a while and will be getting into quite deeply over the next couple of months (no pun intended). The format will be based around guest speakers sharing new research ideas and applications covering a wide range of fields from computer vision and natural language processing to autonomous systems and prognostics.
Note we are not assuming deep learning is the be-all end-all silver bullet of machine learning and welcome critical thoughts and benchmarks.
Sound interesting? Get in touch!
I’m happy to announce that Random Hacks of Kindness will be coming to Southampton for the 4th time! Again with help from Alejandro Saucedo and HackaSoton.
During the weekend of 6-7 December 2013, The University of Southampton will be one of the satellite cities as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness Event!
See below for the problem statements. This time around Im particularly interested in any UAV related problems.
Twitter hashtag: #rhoksoton
We are proud and very grateful to be supported by Enterprise and Digital Economy at the University of Southampton, Microsoft Gadgeteer, Business Analyst Mentor, ScanToSecure, and ATASS.
I have always been a fan of autonomous flying machines, particular their civilian applications, and through my past work at the University I have been fortunate to be able to work on the design and building of UAVs. I have also been a keen attender of various meetups and hackathons .
I was therefore immediately sold when I heard about the Node Copter concept: getting together and see what you can make a Parrot AR Drone do by the end of the day using node.js. Best explained by video:
I got in touch with Benjie (from So Make It) and Andy Nesbitt (who has run a number of these) asking them if they were interested in helping organize one in Southampton.
Both responded with a “hell yeah!” and after some prep Im happy to announce that you
can should sign up on the Eventbrite page:
The event will be held at the makerspace itself. There is a small attendance charge to avoid people signing up but not turning up.
Some prior coding experience (in whatever language) is required.
See you there!
Update: a writeup of the event by Lorraine is here.
A shot post to say that I am co-organizing a Raspberry Pi workshop with The IET Solent Branch at the University of Southampton on 25 April. For personal reasons I cannot make it myself that day but do go along if you want to learn about how to use the GPIO pins on your Pi board!
Btw, if you can’t make it but live in the area, do checkout somakeit.org.uk. Recently launched and we now have a space!
For some reason I never did any podcast listening until about 10 months ago. At that point I decided to give it a go and quickly assembled an initial list of subscriptions by googling around to see what similar minded peers were listening to. Its amazing (and frustrating) how much interesting stuff is out there.
My current list has evolved considerably since then and the purpose of this post is to give an overview of the shows I’m currently subscribed to and why. Hopefully it may inspire others to listen to some of them and share their own.
The different subscriptions cover my interests in technology & software, programming, (aerospace) engineering, and socio-economic/political topics. As well as a broader interest in science related topics and the scientific method.